My brothers love me. Really. I know they do. I don’t bring up this childhood memory to point fingers or place blame or induce guilt or receive any sort of compensation for what they did to their baby sister. Seriously.
I am the youngest of five children. The next two siblings closest in age to me are brothers. We were known as “the kids”. The oldest two siblings, a brother and sister, were known as “the big kids”.
Every summer “the kids” spent most of the weekdays at our surrogate Grandma’s house. Not that we needed a surrogate Grandma. We had two fantastic loving grandma’s, but this grandma from church that had become a good friend of the family invited us over one summer to meet her grandson that was staying with her for the summer and we were all instant friends and we spent a good portion of our days from June to August at her house. The boys were all within a year of age and I was three years younger than the youngest of them, but…we were “the kids” and we stuck together (mom may have played a role in this). I was as much a part of the rubber band fights, lemonade stands and fort building as the boys, much to my delight (and their dismay). I would have been a part of the yard work as well had the boys not suggested that since I was a girl I ought to help in the house instead. After that I was dubbed “chief cook and bottle washer” by grandma and the boys had some time to themselves. I fumed in the air-conditioned house while washing dishes and learning how to make leftover stew while they sweated away in 115 degree heat while working on the yard. Ya, at the time I really would have preferred to be sweating in the heat as well.
One year towards the end of the summer, on one of the rare days that I didn’t go to grandma’s house with my brothers, she decided to reward them for their hard work by taking them to a department store in town to buy them a couple of school outfits. There were no blue light specials or $3 racks at this store. It didn’t sell hardware or dinnerware or pet food. It didn’t have cardboard bins of $1 flip flops at the entrance to the store…it had it’s own shoe department with a salesman for the men, one for the women, and even the kid’s had their very own shoe salesman! It was not a store that we had spent much time in. They came home sporting new OP and Quicksilver shorts and t-shirts and there may have even been some new athletic shoes involved…I don’t exactly remember.
The next day I went back to grandma’s and we all loaded into her lemon yellow car and went back to the department store to pick up my reward for my hard work in helping grandma feed the boys and clean up after them all summer long. As we walked through the fancy store my eyeballs were wide and my heart beat fast in excitement. I had never seen price tags like these on anything not in the electronic aisle. I was instantly drawn to a black jumpsuit with multi-colored bows up the front and baggy MC hammer style pants. I know. I had a great sense of style. Grandma walked up behind me as I admired it and said, “I asked your brothers what you needed for school and they said that you really need are some new pairs of socks. Let’s go look at those.” I stood in shock for a few seconds and then stumbled and mumbled incoherently after grandma, who was already nearing the sock display. Now, I have to admit the socks were rather impressive. They didn’t come in packs of 6 like I was used to. You had to by ONE pair at a time! And one pair cost as much as my packs of 6! I numbly and dejectedly picked out a few pair of socks in different colors and thanked grandma profusely because I didn’t want her to pick up on my disappointment and I wanted to be grateful!
They WERE the best socks I ever owned as a kid. My mom DID take me back and buy me the overpriced parachute/jumpsuit that I had admired to make me feel better, even though it cost as much as three of my regular school outfits would normally cost. My brothers DID get scolded and they did apologize as adults and admit to me that they had meant the suggestion as a joke and had felt bad about it. I will believe them when they take me back to the department store next time I visit and let me pick out my much deserved outfits!
(I searched and searched for a picture of me wearing the jumpsuit. Maybe I should be glad I didn’t find it so I could post it. And you KNOW if I had pictures of my brothers in their OP and Quicksilver outfits I would post them in a heartbeat. I remember one outfit with aqua colored shorts with a gray stripe and the shirt was gray with an aqua stripe. Another outfit was the same idea in peach and yellow. PEACH!)
Brett and I were on one last night after the kids went to bed and couldn’t stop laughing about…just about anything that was even slightly humorous…or even not. It didn’t even have to really be funny. We watched Big Brother and laughed every time Amber cried or Jameka prayed. And if you watch Big Brother you KNOW how often that can be per episode. We laughed when Elka, our boxer, started snoring and sounded like a cow ready to give birth. She would give one long loud deep snore and we would look at each other and laugh and then start watching again just about the time she would have another contraction…err, breath. We laughed when I ate a rotten sunflower seed and couldn’t get the taste out of my mouth. We laughed all the way up the stairs after I remembered a hidden box of dollar store sugar cereal we snuck in from the garage that I was sure was the only thing that would take the nasty rotten nut taste out of my mouth. I didn’t laugh when I took my first bite of cereal and realized that the milk was completely sour, but I did laugh after I spit it out in the sink and shoved a handful of dry cereal in my mouth so I wouldn’t throw up. We REALLY laughed when we discussed how Brett’s chivalry shined through because HE is the one that handed his pregnant wife the carton of milk with about a cup of liquid left in it while his cereal was swimming in nice fresh milk that had just been opened. “I never drink the last inch of milk from a carton because it is almost always sour”, says he…uh huh. We laughed again when the dollar store cereal that I bragged and bragged about finding only filled three medium cereal bowels before the box was empty…not the bargain I thought I was getting. Our final tear jerking laugh of the night came when we read the chat history of our daughter Luca, who just started chatting with her grandparents, a couple of cousins, and Brett and I on Messenger. Here are some quotes from her chats with her dad, emoticons included (translations in quotes):
Brett: hey there Luca
Luca: wute 🙂 (what)
Brett: What did you have for lunch today?
Luca: appol sose and nochos 🙂 I wontid pizza 😥 (applesauce and nachos. I wanted pizza)
Brett: What do you want to do tonight for Family Home Evening?
Luca: get ice crem and if it is lite ot side I wont to do wotre gunds 😛 (get ice cream and if it is light outside I want to do water guns)
Luca: I nou you or here (I know you are here)
Brett: I am not here
Luca: yus you or I can se you wen I trn u wownd dad so dont tele me that you or not here bee cuse you or here :@ (yes you are. I can see you when I turn around dad. So don’t tell me that you are not here because you are here)
Brett: I just look like Dad but I’m not really here. Your Dad is upstairs making PIZZA.
Luca: no he desit now how to mac pizza so you or wit here :@ (no, he doesn’t know how to make pizza so you are right here.)
Brett: Will you help me layaway clothes that come out of the dryer?
(no response, because of course she hopped right up to help!)
It was a fun night and it reminded me how much fun it is to laugh. I need to do it more often.
I found some fun learning games at Costco a few weeks ago called Brain Quest and my kids LOVE them. I thought it was a pretty good deal for about $7 (they are $10.95 on the website). Each package contained two sets of cards (of the same level) held together by a grommet. There are 85 sets of answer and question cards per package. The first card contains questions and the card behind it has the answers and so on. The set for ages 3–4 had simple questions such as, “Which pair would you use to go ice-skating?” and it has a picture of skis, ice-skates, and roller-skates. Of course, my three and four year old kids can’t read so I have gone through the cards with them several times, but now they know them well enough that they like to flip through them themselves or quiz each other. It includes questions on colors, patterns, sequencing, alphabet, and other preschool appropriate subjects. I also bought sets for the 4–5, 5–6, 6–7, and 7–8 age groups and Luca has loved reading through them with me, reading them on her own or reading them to her brother and sister. Lincoln keeps one or two by his bed to look through at night and they all like
to take them in the car.
I noticed on the Brain Quest website there are many sets that are not offered at Costco, so I will be watching for more to purchase to hold onto for stocking stuffers this Christmas.
Boy do I miss my sunglasses. Brett bought me my first pair of really nice Maui Jim’s three years ago and I have not gone a day without them….besides those days that I never leave the house…which sadly is too many to count. They were comfortable on my nose and ears and were very light weight. I had the rose tinted lenses and they were light enough when wearing them that I didn’t have to take them off when the sun went behind the clouds or we drove through a tunnel, but dark enough to keep me from squinting even on the sunniest days.
Well, pregnancy brain caught up with me and I somehow left them at the snack bar of the movie theatre a couple of weeks ago. By the time the movie was over and I realized they were missing from my purse they were long gone. They would have been in their case some somebody must have noticed the “Maui Jim” on the case and snagged them. I was hopeful that somebody would turn them in and I would get a phone call saying I could come pick them up, but after a couple of days I realized they were gone for good. As disappointed as I was to lose them I felt really crushed that nobody would turn them into lost and found. I lost my purse once, left my brand new Coach wallet in a food court at the mall, and misplaced my day planner numerous times as a teenager…and they were always turned in. I think most people are honest and I just happened to leave them at the wrong time and in the wrong place.
So I bought a new pair of $20 sunglasses at Fred Myer tonight to get me by until I feel worthy enough to get another nice pair. I thought of going mid range and getting a bit of a nicer pair without breaking the bank, but I know that nothing would compare so I will just wait until I trust myself with another pair of the exact same ones I had!
I thought I was going to be one of the lucky parents who didn’t have a hair cutting incident with any of my children, but I should have never discounted Anna as the one likely to give it a try.
The other day she locked the bathroom door from the inside and then walked out and shut it. I didn’t realize there was a reason for it, but after breaking into the bathroom and seeing the pile of beautiful blonde hair in the garbage can I realized what had happened. I half yelled half sobbed, “Who cut their hair!!!” (knowing full well who it was). I hear a vibrato wail and she ran to me sobbing, “I’m sorry Mommy, I’m sorry…don’t tell Dad!” She ran into my arms as I sat in the bathroom we cried in each others arms for a few minutes and then I assessed the damages. She had taken chunks of hair from the left side above her ear and clipped pieces at different lengths (with toenail scissors!). The shortest pieces were no longer than the tops of her ears. She didn’t get the very top layer so I figured we could hide if for a few weeks while it grew out a bit and then get it trimmed up to match, but after about three days Brett and I decided we would just have to get it all chopped.
We all marched off for the beauty salon and I told the guy cutting her hair to just make it look as feminine and cute as possible and I went and sat down and let him do what he could. I was actually quite pleased with the results. I miss her long layers framing her face, but something about this cute pixie cut really fits her personality. The best part is she LOVES it. It is easy to do (she can easily brush it herself in about ten seconds in the morning) and when we are fixing up a bit more I gel it up and blow dry it so it flips up a bit in the back.
Neither one of us has shed another tear over it since!
We came across another book at the library that has become an instant favorite for Anna and Lincoln. (Luca likes it too, but has become rather sick of it after reading it several times every single night for three weeks)
Little Pea is a book about…well…Little Pea, a playful and happy pea, who does not want to eat his dinner….of candy. He finally chokes down the quota of five pieces in order to receive his dessert reward of….spinach! yumm! It is very simply written and illustrated and the story is very easy for even the youngest kids to follow, but witty enough for older kids to enjoy as well.
Our favorite quote from Little Pea, when he eats his spinach, is one that Lincoln says daily now when I put something he likes in front of him at the table. “Yum! Yum! Extra Yum!!”